In the steps of the emu: The official launch of the Yuraygir Coastal Walk was held at the Angourie day use area. Pictured, from left, are Yaegl elder Mark Watt, Councillor Karen Toms and Barbara Fahey.
In the steps of the emu: The official launch of the Yuraygir Coastal Walk was held at the Angourie day use area. Pictured, from left, are Yaegl elder Mark Watt, Councillor Karen Toms and Barbara Fahey.

Coastal track a joy for walkers

PEOPLE can now walk along the pristine Clarence coast in the footsteps of the coastal emu – literally – following yesterday’s launch at Angourie of the Yuraygir Coastal Walk.

Signposted with coloured emu prints, the 65-kilometre walk from Angourie to Red Rock along the longest stretch of protected coastline in NSW, was officially launched by Clarence Valley identity Barbara Fahey.

Conceptualised in the 1990s by the late Clarence Valley councillor Joy Matthews, the walk, which can be done in sections over four days, links the villages of Angourie, Brooms Head, Sandon, Minnie Water, Diggers Camp, Wooli and Red Rock.

Mrs Fahey, who was a close friend of Cr Matthews, said the path traverses some of the most beautiful and spectacular coastline in Australia.

“I hope the people who walk this way, who walk these ancient pathways, will do so with respect for the environment and its traditional custodians,” she said.

Those who attended the launch were welcomed to Yaegl country by elder Uncle Ron Heron.

Uncle Ron said Yuraygir National Park was a very significant area for his people.

“We used to use the trail a lot. There are a lot of very important places to Aboriginal culture along the walk,” he said.

Speaking at the launch, National Parks North Coast regional manager Alan Jeffery said the walk gives visitors an intimate nature experience, as previously a lot of activity in Yuraygir was vehicle-based.

“One of the things we have particularly wanted to do, with input and support from the community, was to provide the opportunity for people to enjoy Yuraygir at a slower pace,” he said.

“The walk gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate the significant natural and cultural values that the park, coastal villages and adjacent marine park have to offer.”

Mr Jeffery also acknowledged the work of his staff, the local indigenous community and Joy Matthews – who he described as a “visionary woman” – in establishing the walk.

“We are so fortunate in this part of the world to have a really active and dynamic Aboriginal community,” he said.

Clarence River Tourism manager Jenny Massie said the walk would boost tourism to the region as it added another wonderful nature-based experience in the Clarence.

“It is a wonderful addition to the nature-based product which will help build the profile of the Clarence Valley as a nature-based destination,” she said.

Solitary Bay Trail director Dr Bon Gray said his guiding business had already conducted several successful trips along the walk.

“Following in the footsteps of the traditional owners, we have a chance to preserve the environment and make the walk something truly outstanding,” he said.

Cr Karen Toms, who represented Mayor Richie Williamson at the launch, also paid tribute to the contribution of Joy Matthews in establishing the walk.

“The Yuraygir Coastal Walk will allow people to experience the diverse and scenic aspects of the Clarence coast,” she said.



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